Skip to Main Content

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Policy

Purpose and background

The purpose of this policy is to clarify ownership of different types of intellectual property.

The parties to this agreement believe that UD best serves the public interest by creating an intellectual environment whereby creative efforts and innovations can be encouraged and rewarded, while still retaining for the university and its learning communities reasonable access to, and use of, the intellectual property for whose creation the college or university has provided assistance. The university supports the development, production, and dissemination of intellectual property by its students, staff, and faculty; however, there are cases where ownership of intellectual property reverts to or is shared by the university.


Intellectual Property - The term 'intellectual property' describes a wide variety of cognitive works that may have value either commercially or academically. Intellectual property is often covered by copyright, patent or trademark law to protect the work for the creator or owning institution against infringement or misuse of their work. The intellectual property covered by the University of Dallas policy includes works that may be protected by patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, or other law and includes:

    • Inventions
    • Discoveries
    • Trade Secrets
    • Trade and other service marks
    • Writings, for example, but not limited to, literary works, course materials, research writing, or student course assignments
    • Art works, including compositions and performance art
    • Musical compositions
    • Performances of any type
    • Software
    • Architectural drawings or creations
    • Sound recordings

In addition, the term 'intellectual property' covers all media forms of such works: paper, digital, audio, multimedia, and so on.

Copyright - A copyright is a legal designation that gives the creator or owner of a creative work the sole right to publish, sell, or disseminate that work, including reproduction and payments for reproductions.

Stakeholders - A stakeholder is anyone who might gain or lose from having control of ownership from a work described as 'intellectual property' above. Stakeholders in UD include the UD Board of Trustees, faculty, visiting faculty, adjuncts, staff, administration and other UD full-time or part-time employees, professional subject-matter experts, researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni.

The Policy

The policy pertains to students, staff, faculty, Board members, and any other employee of the university. The policy is intended to be consistent with the Faculty Handbook's Policy in Regard to Inventions, Patents, and Copyrights (section 2.54). In disputes involving faculty, the policy in the Faculty Handbook takes precedence.

Authors retain rights to all work produced while in the employ of University of Dallas unless the work is a creation related to an employee's job duties, is contracted as work for hire, or is patentable research performed primarily with university resources. Each condition is defined below.

"Authors" may include students, staff, faculty, Board members, or any other employee of the university.

A "creation related to an employee's job duties" consists of work products created as part of an employee's job responsibilities, even if the employee was not specifically asked to create them. For instance, if the employee's job duties include database analysis of alumni, and the employee develops a novel, copyrightable method of storing or accessing the data, it would be considered to be within the purview of the 'employee's job duties.' Excluded from this definition are scholarly and artistic works by faculty including literary works, musical works, artistic works, publications, and research.

Material created by faculty for ordinary teaching use in the classroom and in department programs, such as syllabi, assignments, and tests, shall remain the property of the faculty author, but the university shall be permitted to use such material for internal instructional, educational, and administrative purposes, including satisfying requests of accreditation agencies for faculty-authored syllabi and course descriptions.

Student work created as part of course assignments is wholly owned and controlled by the student author, but the university shall be permitted to use student work in an anonymous form as examples provided to accreditation agencies. No one, including faculty, staff or other university representatives, has rights of publication or reuse for such works. Excluded from this definition are data and results from faculty supervised research done by students and student work defined before as 'contract for hire' or 'patentable research.'

"Contracted as work for hire" relates to work created under contractual arrangements either with the Board of Trustees or someone acting in their stead, e.g., the Provost. The contract should stipulate that the work is 'work for hire' and that it is 'fully owned by the University of Dallas' as part of the contractual wording.

"Patentable research performed primarily with university resources" relates to artistic, technological, or scientific works that could be patentable and provide a revenue stream. Usually such research develops from basic research and may not become known to be patentable until late in its development. The key to defining such works is that it would be impossible to create without university equipment, work space, and other resources. Specifically excluded is research work primarily funded by external grants.

The main concern with scholarly works owned by students, faculty, non-faculty researchers, or professionals is to allocate and recover resources that may have contributed to the creation of such works. If a project involves the use of significant institution resources, the creator and the institution should agree, before the project begins, on use of facilities, allocation of rights to use the work, and recovery of expenses and/or sharing of benefits from commercialization of the work.

Any intellectual property deemed to be the property, or partial property of the UD Board of Trustees will have the copyright, patent, or trade mark expenses borne by the university. In the case of 'partial property,' a contract should define the terms of partial ownership and the extent to which equity participation in revenues or payment for further product development will be made.

Review and End Date

The policy is in effect until May 31, 2014. Prior to that date the policy will be reviewed. Following the review the policy will be extended or modified.

Sample Work for Hire Acknowledgement

I am being required/hired to create works defined as intellectual property. The ownership of and benefit from such intellectual property is governed by the University of Dallas policy on intellectual property and copyright ownership, which I have read and understand.

I understand that any intellectual property I will create that is within the scope of my employment is a work for hire and the University of Dallas Board of Trustees will wholly own such intellectual property. Further, since I am being hired specifically to create intellectual property, any royalty-sharing provisions shall not apply to my works and the University of Dallas Board of Trustees will retain all proceeds from any commercialization of the works I create.

(Sample work for hire acknowledgement modified from University of Texas IP policy)